Enthusiastic Consent and Healthy Sex
Love is in the air.
As are hormones, desire, and just a basic need for stress relief.
We see a lot of individuals in our practice who are wanting to work on the person they are bringing into a relationship. Some are taking a proactive approach- perhaps reflecting on relationship patterns and wanting to avoid future red flags. Others are in a happy relationship and want to make sure they work on themselves. Others are questioning- is this the right relationship for me?
Some are single and exploring an aspect of their identity- often for the first time.
Needless to say, sex gets brought up A LOT.
(Don’t worry, you’re normal.)
(Seriously, please bring up sex if it’s on your mind.)
(One, we’ve heard it all. Two, it’s the foundation of Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs– right up there with food and sleep. It’s okay to talk about your needs!)
Digression aside, there are some main, general pointers I like to provide as it relates to sexual relationships.
When to have the talk
The best time to talk about your desires, disappointments, and thoughts on frequency of interactions, etc. isn’t when the lights go out and you’re between the sheets, hoping to get busy. Choose a benign, non-sexy day to have a frank conversation. A glass of wine can’t hurt. If this conversation ends up fueling some passions- that’s amazing! But, give your partner and yourself some grace to be a bit uncomfortable in this conversation- particularly if you’re sailing into uncharted waters.
Speaking of which…
Work on embracing disaster and humor
One of my favorite lines from the TV show 30 Rock is when Carrie Fischer describes sex as best when everything “goes horribly wrong”.
Spoiler: It is NEVER like pornography or romantic dramas. (I do treat pornography addiction, as an aside.) People get accidentally elbowed in the eye. There are fluids (if you’re not aware of that, let’s revisit sex ed). And the best sex you and your partner can have is where you are less self-conscious about the faces you make and focus instead on the other person.
Above all else, the CERTS model for Health Sex
This model covers the basics, but is easily adaptable for a wide range of relationships and sexual preferences.
C: Consent. This means you can freely and comfortably choose whether or not to engage in sex or specific sex acts. You are conscious, informed, and able to stop the activity at any time.
E: Equality. Your sense of power is on an equal level with your partner. Neither of you intimidates the other. (Dominating/role play is different. See “Consent”.)
R: Respect. This means you have a positive regard for yourself and for your partner.
T: Trust. You trust your partner on physical and emotional levels- as much as needed for what you’re about to engage in. You accept each other’s needs and vulnerabilities and are able to respond to concerns with sensitivity.
S: Safety. You feel secure and safe in the sexual setting. You feel safe from the possibility of potential negative consequences, such an unwanted pregnancy, STI, or injury.
Conclusion- or the climax!
If you are interested in talking more about sexuality and how you honor that in your life, we would love to talk to you.
We wish you enthusiastic consent, playfulness, and all the best in your wellness journey.